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San Diego Unified Spares 280 Teachers, Staff from Layoffs

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Aired 4/19/09

More than 280 San Diego Unified teachers, librarians and counselors have been spared from getting layoff notices. The San Diego school board decided yesterday to give those employees a last-minute reprieve. KPBS Reporter Ana Tintocalis has more.

The district was expected to send more than 900 layoff notices to teachers this week. Now they plan to notify about 620.

The change came when new school superintendent Terry Grier presented a last-minute proposal to rescind roughly 190 notices. Those notices targeted English teachers, librarians, counselors. 

Grier wants to spare those educators because they will be at the center of his reforms next school year.   

Grier: We're going to do a very good job with the people that we have. I worry about their burnout, I worry about their workload, and we do have to find ways to come together to support each other.

The school board voted four to one to protect the positions. The board also took back an additional 90 layoff notices. Those notices were rescinded as a result of mistakes made in imputing teacher seniority rankings and retirement dates.

Teacher Tina Rasori was spared from getting a notice. She says she's happy to keep her job but it's hard to celebrate when more than 600 other teachers may be out of a job.   

Rasori: Even after small victories there is still even more that we need to be fighting for...like the fight is never really over.

It will cost the district roughly $20 million to keep the positions on the payroll. District officials say they may have to close small schools or dig into budget reserves to cover those costs. Right now San Diego Unified stands to lose $80 million in state education funding as a result of the Governor's proposed budget.

Ana Tintocalis, KPBS News.

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